What was the key phrase for me in the video that Mel Wild posted here, Loving our Samaritans in 2021 | In My Father’s House (wordpress.com)? For me it was this:
I need a new vetting system.
What is a “vetting” system? Well, the first definition of vet, applies.
1a: to evaluate for possible approval or acceptance
//vet the candidates for a position
b: to subject to usually expert appraisal or correction
//vet a manuscript
When we “vet” something of someone, we want to learn the truth about that something or someone. Often, however, our fellow human beings mislead us. That is especially true with respect to politics. We tend to think of government as powerful, but it can be easier to steal from everyone than it is to steal from someone. We just have to have the talent and the resources to con our fellow citizens. Hence, for the sake of the huge rewards they can obtain, some of our fellow citizens happily work energetically to influence us and fool us.
It is an odd thing. We want to believe people are honest, but none of us are truly honest. We all suffer from that original sin, Genesis 3 NASB – The Fall of Mankind – Now the serpent – Bible Gateway. With respect to government and politics, how does our fallen nature work against us? How are we bent towards evil? Well, here are some of the ways.
- Personal gain. Some people know something foul is being done, even that they are doing evil, but they seek personal gain. Is slavery wrong? Yes, but that did not stop people who knew it was wrong from supporting it. That included politicians, the news media of the day, slave owners, friends of slaveowners (including the clergy), and people who felt elevated by seeing the sufferings of someone more despised than themselves.
- Ignorance and Confusion. None of us have the time to figure out what is true about everyone and everything. Instead, we try to mind our own business and let others mind their business. But what do we do if the government makes something we don’t know anything about “our business”? We may play it “safe.” We may follow the self-proclaimed “experts.” We may do what everyone else is doing, follow the mob. We may not do anything and proclaim our innocence. What do we rarely do if the government is involved? We fail to ask why our government is involved, why our tax dollars are being spent doing something we don’t think is important enough for us to become informed.
- Bias. We have been taught to think of bias as evil, an obvious evil. However, what our biases generally reflect is our desire to feel good about ourselves, and high self-esteem is now proclaimed as a good thing. So, supposedly we should be proud to say: “I am the best.” Not true. Here are some examples. The soft bigotry of low expectations for nonwhites (Soft bigotry of low expectations | Cal Thomas | Opinion | news-herald.com) allows whites to see nonwhites as the white man’s “burden.” “Tolerance” — “where is the harm” — for LGBTQ “rights” gives heterosexuals an excuse for ignoring the lies that ungird the LGBTQ movement. When people are lying to themselves and harming themselves, how does supporting such high-minded “tolerance” actually entitle us to think more highly of ourselves? Well, we can lie to ourselves too. Our biases are based upon lies we tell ourselves.
- Advertising Techniques. The Bandwagon effect (Bandwagon Effect Definition (investopedia.com)) is an example of an advertising technique — propaganda — that is intended to manipulate us, not to inform us and support critical thinking. Consider additional examples provided in these articles: 9 Cognitive Biases That Influence Buyer Decisions (ventureharbour.com), 10 cognitive biases that make your marketing more effective | MyCustomer, Advertising Techniques – 13 Most Common Techniques Used by the Advertisers (managementstudyguide.com), and Advertising Persuades Human Behavior | by James Ashley | Medium. Are you susceptible to propaganda? Of course you are. We all are.
Don’t think our fallen nature works against you? Think how often you buy something. Then consider that every time we spend money, donate money, and pay taxes we are supporting an industry, a way of life, or a cause. That is, either we voluntarily or involuntarily (taxes) provide resources for an industry, a way of life, or a cause we may or may not want to support. Hence, we need to be as thoughtful about our decisions as we can be. Are you?
- Instead of boycotting companies we disagree with, do you support companies whose moral practices you respect?
- Instead of looking to government for solutions, do you volunteer your our own money and time to fix the problems and help the people you care about? Instead of allowing conniving politicians to make people dependent on handouts, do you support the charities you believe help people to run their own lives?
- Instead of looking for opportunities to tax your neighbors and spend their money for them, have you considered that people, each of us, make the best decisions when they spend their own money either on themselves or on the people and things they care about?
What is the solution? It takes time and the help of the Holy Spirit for us to make good decisions. So, government is not the solution. Government has a role (see Romans 13:1-7 NASB – Be Subject to Government – Every person – Bible Gateway), but government cannot perfect us. God doesn’t give government the Holy Spirit.
God gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to individuals, not governments (1 Corinthians 12 NASB – The Use of Spiritual Gifts – Now – Bible Gateway). Therefore, if we want to see people who display the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we each need to look to God, not government.